Sex-specific effects of fasting on urocortin 1, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide and nesfatin-1 expression in the rat Edinger-Westphal nucleus

L. Xu, B. Bloem, B. Gaszner, E. W. Roubos, T. Kozicz

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Leptin is critical for normal food intake and energy metabolism. While leptin receptor (ObR) function has been well studied in hypothalamic feeding circuitries, the functional relevance of ObR in extrahypothalamic areas is largely unknown. Central regulatory pathways involved in food intake utilize various neuropeptides, such as urocortin 1 (Ucn1), cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) and nesfatin-1. Ucn1 is most abundantly expressed in the non-preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus (npEW). In addition to Ucn1, other satiety signals, such as CART and nesfatin-1, are highly expressed in neurons of the npEW. Using immunocytochemistry and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we here show the presence of short and long forms of ObR in the rat npEW. Then, we tested our hypothesis that a change in plasma leptin will modulate the activity of npEW neurons containing Ucn1, CART and nesfatin-1. First, by double-labeling immunocytochemistry, we observed that almost all npEW neurons colocalizing Ucn1, CART and nesfatin-1 also contain ObR. Fasting rats for two days caused a marked body weight loss and reduced leptin plasma level in both genders. Ucn1 mRNA and CART mRNA were upregulated after fasting in males (3.3 and 2.4 times, respectively; P<0.05) but not in females. However, their peptide levels were not significantly changed. The peptide level and mRNA of nesfatin-1 were unaffected by fasting. We conclude that npEW-neurons containing Ucn1, CART and nesfatin-1 co-express ObR, and may be involved in leptin-mediated feeding control in male rats only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1149
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2009



  • energy metabolism
  • leptin receptor
  • q-RT-PCR
  • stress adaptation
  • triple-immunofluorescence labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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